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This Heroes' Land

Tony Smith
Lingua: Inglese


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This Heroes’ Land
© Tony Smith 2017



During war time, Indigenous Australians have served gallantly in the armed forces. Until recently they were barely recognised. But an even greater injustice occurred when the children of some serving soldiers were forcibly removed to institutions.
Barney and Jess were teenage friends
Through the depression years
Survived on rabbit and pumpkin
And fish from the nearby Calare
When the future looked brighter they wed
And babes came like steps on the stair
But when the country was threatened by war
Barney would do his share

Crying Jess begged him not to go
It was the Gubbas’ fight
But Barney said he’d be a hero
And that would help their rights
He felt it in his heart of hearts
Thought again of a future time
Of the heroes’ land where he would be
As good as anyone black or white

The war went on for years
Writing wasn’t easy for Jess
News from home was rare
So a photo he kept by his chest
Then one day he returned
Bursting with manly pride
To the heroes’ land where he would be
As good as anyone black or white

His home was dark and cold
So he went to aunty Lil next door
When she put her hand to her mouth
His heart sank to the floor
‘Where are they?’ He sighed
‘Where are my family?’
In this heroes’ land where he should be
As good as anyone black or white

‘Took’ she said ‘All took away’
The war hadn’t scared him he was brave
But now he felt weak at the knees
Scared, alone and very afraid
‘Jess got crook. In hospital now.
They said the kids ran wild.
I couldn’t stop ‘em. Too many
Come in cars in the night’
In this heroes’ land where he should be
As good as anyone black or white

‘Where?’ was all that Barney said
‘Bomaderry’ and saw his pain
He jammed his slouch hat on his head
Tramped off to catch the mail train
In this land of hypocrisy
Where they steal your kids in the night
He arrived at the gates the next midday
Still he wore his hero’s dress
And if they asked him he could say
Of soldiers he was of the best
But medals were nought to those within
Those behind those walls so high
In this heroes’ land where he should be
As good as anyone black or white

Angry and unloved in jails
His children spent their sad lives
Till claimed by early graves
A veteran’s children sacrificed
They’d be treasured if he were white
But there were no black heroes in gubbas’ eyes
Good enough to fight good enough to die
Not good enough to raise a child

And this heroes’ land where he should be
As good as anyone black or white
Became a land of hypocrisy
Where they steal your kids in the night
They steal your kids in the night

inviata da Tony Smith - 23/9/2017 - 06:19


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